The Melbourne International Exhibition, an International Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures, and Agricultural and Industrial Products of all Nations was held at the Exhibition buildings in Carlton which was specifically built to host this event. Over 1.3 million visitors attended the Exhibition which was open from October 1, 1880 until April 30, 1881.
There was an Italian Court display at the Exhibition where Carlo Catani’s friend, Dr Ferdinando Gagliardi, had been appointed as the Secretary of the Italian contingent in 1878. Catani and his friends, Gagliardi, Pietro Baracchi and Ettore Checchi, left Italy for Australia via New Zealand having set sail from Hamburg. After a brief sojourn, Catani, Baracchi and Checchi sailed onto the richest colony of the British Empire, Victoria, where they arrived on September 30, 1876. Later, Ferdinando Gagliardi was to arrive in Melbourne in February 1877, soon to be joined by another Tuscan immigrant, Paolo Dattari.
Carlo Catani and his friends not only met the professional demands essential to the burgeoning colony, they also brought along with them an openness to innovation and a flair for discovery from their native Tuscany, hailing from Florence, a city well known for its beautiful marriage of art, architecture and science. The senior of these five compatriots was Dr Ferdinando Gagliardi.
Carlo Catani was appointed as a juror of the Italian Court along with Baracchi, Checchi and Dattari. It was a sign of confidence in the professional integrity of these men that they were selected for this role, a mere four years or so after their arrival in Victoria. Catani was appointed a juror of textiles; Dattari of gold, silver, precious stones and jewellery; Baracchi of silk and lacework and Checchi of mining and metallurgy.
Pietro Baracchi (1851 - 1926) began his career in Victoria at the Melbourne Observatory, was transferred to the Department of Lands and Survey and in 1882 was to return to the Observatory. In 1895 he was appointed acting Government Astronomer and was confirmed in this position in 1900. In 1910, Baracchi partook in a Federal committee which selected the new Mount Stromlo Observatory site.
Ettore Checchi (1853 - 1946) was an engineer, who like Catani started in the Department of Lands & Survey and progressed to the Public Works Department as an assistant engineer. From there Checchi transferred to the Department of Water Supply, and later to the State Rivers & Water Supply Commission, where his significant achievements concerned Murray River measurement, control and usage.
Ferdinando Gagliardi (1843-1898) obtained his Doctor of Jursiprudence from the University of Pisa in 1867. In Melbourne he was engaged as a foreign correspondent for the Gazzetta d’Italia, writing on the social, political and economic aspects of Victoria, while also involved with the Italian Consulate. In 1881 he commenced at the Melbourne Public Library and rose to assistant head Librarian, though declined to accept the more senior position when it was offered to him on a number of occasions.
Paolo Dattari (born c. 1850 - ) had a varied career which commenced as a draughtsman and a cartographer at the Department of Lands and Survey. Dattari also worked chiefly as an architect, he was also an accomplished silversmith. In 1880 he was accepted as a member of the Field Naturalist Club of Victoria, where his main area of interest was entomology. Dattari and his family left Melbourne for Italy in February 1894 after which no further details of his life are known.